Growing up in a remote area, Jason Gordon had to do his schoolwork by correspondence. Today, he serves an entire state.
“I’m deadset a country boy,” Jason Gordon told create — and his résumé backs him up.
Born and raised in Bourke, New South Wales, Gordon’s engineering career has taken him through any number of tiny towns in the rural and remote parts of the state. He has held positions everywhere from Tumut and Molong to Coffs Harbour and Wingecarribee.
He is now in Sydney as Director of Intelligent Transport Systems at Roads and Maritime Service, though he still lives regionally. Considering his current job is to serve the entire state, it is lucky he has seen so much of it.
“The shadow that government casts in rural areas is huge,” Gordon said.
“You can spend a billion dollars in Sydney and people don’t necessarily notice much difference, but you spend a million dollars in a small community like Bourke, the continuation of that and the circular effect of what that money does is just phenomenal.”
Gordon’s current position involves improving road management, traveller information and road safety.
“We supply the software to all of the traffic lights in New South Wales, plus another 45,000 sites in the rest of Australia and overseas,” he said.
“You can make such a difference to such a wide area.”
A Barkindji man, Gordon believes that one of the challenges facing engineering is expanding the diversity of the profession.
“That’s one of my passions,” he said.
“How do you get Aboriginal people, but more so Aboriginal women into the traditional STEM projects?”
He also wants it to be easier for all women and people from remote regions to find a place in engineering.
“You need to have incentives to break down those barriers,” he said.
“Traineeships, cadetships … and, wherever possible, those people being able to live in their community, work in their community.”
Gordon sees his qualification as a Chartered engineer as something that helps him make a difference.
“I’ve got an ability to promote women and diverse cultures into engineering,” he said.
“I can do that through being a member of [Engineers Australia] and the status that I’ve got.”
And he welcomes the opportunity to mentor younger engineers.
“I now do assessments of people that want to become Engineering Execs,” he said.
“You get to meet so many interesting people.”
5 tips for success
1. Find a good mentor to help you plan your career.
2. Your career will rely on some luck and a lot of hard work.
3. Local Government is a good place for generalists.
4. State Government is big enough to let you specialise.
5. If you’ve got passion and you want to make a difference, nothing is better than engineering.
This article originally appeared as “Keystone: Jason Gordon” in the September 2019 issue of create magazine.
Interested in learning more about the Chartered credential? You may already have what it takes to become Chartered. Find out more here and start your pathway to Chartered today.